I’ve been listening to the reports on Fox and CNN about what’s going on internationally today. I’ve also been following other news sources. Watching live meetings, speeches, etc.
What I think has been undermined or missed is how unlike the past this issue with Russia really is. When Tsarist Russia existed the US was not the world leader it became or still tries to be today. When Tsarist Russia existed the world still lived in the Age of Empires. Great Britain was extremely powerful. Many European countries were more powerful.
When the US fought “Russia” we fought their past in the shadows but fought the USSR on the surface. We understood the USSR. We only fondly recalled Russia. Because officially Russia had been overthrown in 1917. Brutally overthrown.
I keep hearing people make references to the Cold War. …But based on Putin’s rhetoric and my understanding of what was once the genuinely great nation of Russia he sounds so much more like a Tsar wanting to reclaim the grandeur and international position of an elite empire than to refight the Cold War. Read about Tsarist Russia. It wasn’t always…pretty.
The good news is that if I’m right it’s a totally different mindset than what we’ve seen here in the US in…not necessarily negative ways. But we have to adjust our thinking.
We are a relatively new country. We’re used to dealing with the world our “parents” the UK gave us after WWII. We are not accustomed to a truly imperial mindset. And so far our lack of historical sophistication has been embarrassing and pathetic.
*cue the loud, argumentative, always right, self-righteous, toxic and conceited “liberal” and/or “truly knowledgable” cool kids* But let’s ignore them for a quick moment to think this through. Bless their hearts.
In the US we are not officially an empire. We believe emphatically, at least on the surface, in democracy. Tsarist Russia…was a grand empire. From a psychological perspective, if the Communist Revolution of 1917 is now seen publicly as a traumatic moment to be “processed” in what became openly Russia again then it makes sense they’re trying to reclaim their “true self” as a county. Sanctions won’t work against a problem that’s deeper than money… (Not that we shouldn’t do sanctions. We need to do sanctions. We just can’t rely on them to “work” like a magic pill or impose them recklessly.) Recall: these are a people who actually tried communism. Like for real. They were willing to die over it. They didn’t just talk about it. They walked the walk… We in the US never have… It is not just an “ivy tower” concept to them. They are Russian. Not just eastern “Americans.” *laugh* Right? They lived through a wholehearted attempt at genuine communism for decades. “Money” might not mean the same thing to them as a concept as it would to most Americans. It’s a different cultural, subconscious perspective. Very different.
…No, where Napoleon and Hitler errored…we, in the US, must be careful not to. We should not “go after” the Tsars in the winter… Figuratively. Literally even.
…It will require a delicacy, brilliance and privacy not seen often today to help solve this issue for the US. Because apparently, according to how we’ve behaved for decades, we’re still but teenagers trying to “figure ourselves out” no matter how smart we are or how well we often do. Perhaps we need to contribute…lead out of duty…but not make too many assumptions. Because that’s what a Tsar would count on to win: Arrogance. Youthful, somewhat innocent in a way, but also immature and selfish arrogance.
“Have we learned nothing from the past?!” said the representative to the UN Security Council from Ireland last night (my time). Good question. And also, “Do we remember the past?” is what I wonder… Not the way we want to recall it. What actually, truly…really…honestly happened? Do we acknowledge it? Do we ignore it? Because it’s potentially a matter of life or death now kiddos… *wink*